Migrating my hosting from Media Temple to SiteGround

This year would be my 10th year anniversary with Media Temple. For the past 10 years, I stuck to Media Temple because I lacked the technical capabilities on moving sites from one host to another host. With the USD20 that I am paying monthly, the site loading speed was unacceptable.

The final straw came when it comes to SSL. As you might have already know, Google have made it very clear that site owners are responsible for their sites security and they should make their sites secure by implementing SSL (turning the site from http:// to https://). Many sites are able to obtain their certificates for free via Let’s Encrypt.

I have raised 2 support tickets to ask about SSL implementation to Media Temple support staff- they pointed me to a knowledgebase article or alternatively offer me an SSL certificate for USD75 per site. I have more than 10 sites hosted with them. Why would I want to pay for SSL when most of the other sites are getting from Let’s Encrypt for free?

As my hosting renewal is coming up, I approached SiteGround, which is highly recommended by many popular sites and bloggers out there. The first staff I have spoken to is Beatice C and she answered all my questions and assured me that the site migration would be done well. She mentioned that their site migration experts perform site migration for hundreds of sites daily.  After considering, I made the decision to migrate host. I figured if things could not turn out well, there’s always the money back guarantee.

I signed up for the Grow Big plan and paid a lock-in promotion rate upfront for 3 years. 3 years of hosting (promo rate) cost me about USD240. Exactly the same price as Media Temple one year’s hosting plan. I could use the savings from the hosting to pay for manual migration of my sites.

Note: By the forth year onwards, the Grow Big hosting would revert back to USD19.95. That’s okay considering:

  • my site loading speed has greatly improved (it is confirmed from one site that I have successfully migrated)
  • the free Let’s Encrypt SSL certification which is hassle free to set up- just 3 clicks away and renews automatically because it is Let’s Encrypt is integrated with SiteGround.

Site Migration Process from Media Temple to SiteGround hosting

When you sign up with SiteGround, there are 3 ways you can choose to migrate your sites to them:

I will write about this in relation to Media Temple’s hosting plan.

1. Using their SiteGround Migrator Plugin (free of charge)
SiteGround provides a plugin which you can use only for WordPress sites. What you do is:

At Siteground’s login panel:

  • first add the domain name of the new site that you wish to migrate.
  • Go to Website Transfer icon and select the site’s name from the dropdown
  • Click to generate the migration token.

At your wordpress site:

  • Login to the Dashboard of your wordpress site
  • Under Add Plugin, locate the “SiteGround Migrator” plugin.
  • Add and activate the plugin. Then when you open the plugin, you would be asked to key in the migration token.
  • Key in the migration token and let the SiteGround plugin do the migration.
  • Remember to PREVIEW the site after it is done. The preview is available up to 48 hours after you generate it. If you click on the preview and only see a blank page, means SOMETHING IS WRONG. I chatted with SiteGround’s customer support and he managed the troubleshoot the problem- it was due to my Theme. I deactivated it and the migration went through.
  • If you are migrating one single domain name, once you are satisfied with the preview, you can login to Media Temple to change the DNS to point to SiteGround. But if you are like me, migrating a subdomain, you have to make sure you migrate all the subdomains successfully before changing the DNS.

I have about 8 smaller sites that I am migrating manually using the plugin. I managed to migrate 3 sites succesfully until Media Temple’s servers started to block my migration. I will write about this in a future article.

2. Doing yourself manually

It depends on which plan you have with Media Temple. If you are on the Grid Service like me, you do not have Cpanel access. So the sites highlighted in YouTube videos about manual site migration will not work with Media Temple GridService.

If you have the technical capabilities to do on your own, then you can explore ways to do the FTP transfer. After I read through a lot of explanation, I know it is beyond my scope.

If you want to pay for someone to do it for you…. then it is better to pay Siteground staff to do it. At USD30 per site, the price is a steal (considering Media Temple charges USD150 for their staff to migrate site to their hosting). At first, I had wanted was trying to source for someone local to migrate the site for me. My friend recommended a web developer called Danny Foo. Danny is a real honest guy….rather than trying to earn from me, he told me upfront that in terms of migration, it is better to let the SiteGround guys do it because they have the experience and expertise. After all, their staff handle such migration on daily basis. And also the Danny himself have heard many good reviews about SiteGround.

Therefore, considering paying SiteGround folks to do it for you rather than engaging freelancers. You would need to provide the login credentials for your hosting companies for them so if you already have chosen SiteGround, there is no point of getting freelancers from elance or Upwork.

3. Paying for SiteGround’s experts to do it for you.
There are sites I did on my own and also sites I paid for. I do not take a chance with my bigger sites hence I paid for SiteGround’s experts to do it. With Grow Big plan, I get one site migration for free. I have 3 big sites so I paid a total of USD60 for their help to migrate 3 sites.

My advice is if you are managing a high traffic site which you lack the expertise and do not want to take any risk, pay to get it done. You already save on hosting at least for the first year- you can use the savings to pay for the migration.

One of my sites have a separate domain name as it is a site I am managing for someone. My existing theme is not compatible with the free SiteGround plugin migrator. When I paid for the migration to be done manually, the site was migrated lock, stock and barrel- exactly the same with no issues.

After the migration was done, I was told to preview it by making some changes in my local host System32 files. I could not do it but I went ahead and switched the DNS anyway for the hosting to point to SiteGround. It took a few hours for the DNS change to take effect.

I then installed Let’s Encrypt certification for that site. The installation is completed in just 3 clicks without me needing to install any plugin. The integration itself forced the SSL to work including automatically converting incoming http traffic to https. After that, I login to the site’s wordpress dashboard at Settings to change the site url from http://sitename.com to https://sitename.com. I created a new tracking id for the https site from Google Analytics and pasted the tracking code on my theme.

Then I checked my new https site…. everything worked well. No mixed or error messages.

I nearly cried at how easy it was and why it took me so long to change.

When I was trying to migrate out from Media Temple, I googled for solutions but I was not able to find any. But I could see that there are many searches related to this topic. I will write more about my experiences in transferring my sites from Media Temple to Siteground to benefit others.

If you are considering to migrate to Siteground, do consider clicking on my affiliate link. at no additional cost to you. But I would earn a commission from this which would help with my expenses.

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